Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Schedule 46

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:45 pm on 23rd June 2009.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sarah McCarthy-Fry Sarah McCarthy-Fry Parliamentary Secretary, HM Treasury 12:45 pm, 23rd June 2009

I come back to the point that I made about using the definition of accountancy and audit materiality. That has never applied for tax. What happens in practice is that accounts are prepared according to materiality, but that is unpicked when the tax finance people prepare their computations and returns. The amendment makes it absolutely clear that the legislation does not raise the tax bar in respect of what is required to sign off returns. That is an important protection for senior accounting officers.

The hon. Gentleman spoke about significance. We can provide more examples of significance within the guidance; as I said, it is part of the ongoing consultation. I welcomed the hon. Gentleman’s support for draft guidance on appropriate tax accounting arrangements and, again, that will be subject to further consultation.

Moving to amendment 295, the thrust of the schedule is to help maintain fiscal sustainability by making the senior accounting officers of the very largest companies and groups responsible for ensuring that they have appropriate tax accounting arrangements in place and, as currently drafted, the measure applies to all liabilities regardless of relative importance. However, in some instances the associated administrative burden, while not significant in relative terms, might be disproportionate in relation to the size of those liabilities, which are relatively small, therefore amendment 295 restricts the measure’s scope to specify mainstream taxes and duty.